COULD BE DEJA VU FOR BOND MEASURES ON APRIL BALLOT.
Five weeks after Los Angeles voters rejected nearly $800 million in new taxes and bond issues for sidewalks and Exposition Park, city officials said Thursday they are studying whether to ask voters in April to approve up to $1 billion in new bond measures, partly for the same projects.
The City Council's Ad Hoc Committee on Capital Improvements submitted a $36 million bond proposal to the full council for the Exposition Park project - $10 million less than what voters refused to approve in November.
Officials also said they are looking at bond measures of between $500 million and $800 million for police and fire facilities and another between $100 million and $200 million for sidewalk curb cuts to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Councilman Mike Feuer asked for the report on the curb cuts - small ramps at pedestrian crossings - which had been included in the $769.4 million Proposition JJ measure rejected by 56.8 percent of the voters.
``What I want to do is limit it to curb cuts, no sidewalk repairs,'' Feuer said. ``We have to do this. We received a letter from the (federal) Department of Justice asking what we were going to do now that Prop. JJ lost to come in compliance with the ADA.''
Mayor Richard Riordan would oppose such a measure, Deputy Mayor Jennifer Roth said.
``The mayor made it clear he will not support any bond measure for curb cuts or sidewalk repairs,'' said Roth, the top financial adviser to Riordan, who added it was not known if the mayor would directly challenge the council by vetoing the proposal.
``He believes we should use the tobacco settlement money for that work.''
The city is expected to receive $312 million over the next 25 years from the nationwide tobacco-industry settlement. Feuer and other council members want to use it for health-related programs.
Jack Kyser, chief economist of the Economic Development Corp., questioned the wisdom of asking the voters to approve so much in bonds so quickly after a similar amount was rejected.
``It's like deja vu all over again,'' Kyser said. ``I can see where the police and fire bond might have a chance, but voters already rejected curb cuts and Exposition Park. Voters are very discriminating these days.
``It looks like the council is deciding to throw it up against the wall and see who salutes.''
On the Exposition Park measure, Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas said he believed that scaling back the plan by $10 million to a total of $36 million could win voter support.
``We received 59 percent of the vote, enough to merit asking voters again to approve a scaled-back proposal,'' Ridley-Thomas said.
The new Exposition Park bond issue, which would cost property owners $1.57 a year for 20 years, would eliminate work at the Rose Garden and funding for a recreation center, but continue to include an aquarium at the California Science Center.
On police matters, the committee is considering a $500 million proposal submitted by a blue ribbon panel of experts and is also weighing an alternative plan for $800 million, submitted by a task force of city officials.
The two groups agreed generally on the needed improvements and new facilities, with the difference in costs due to the city task force recommendation that 17 fire stations be built instead of the 11 recommended by the blue ribbon panel.
Both groups agreed the city has some $2 billion in needed improvements and that they should be funded over a 20-year period.